Category Archives: History

More Maude Fealy (And Her Actress Mother, Margaret Fealy)

Maude Fealy “The Most Beautiful Woman In the World” In An Atypical Pose

One of the most read stories we have done was about Maude Fealy the stage star and film actress who had a career that spanned the first half of the 20th century.

Given the lack of fact based information available on the internet about Fealy we’ve provided another short page devoted to this forgotten star.

This unusual photograph entitled The Coiffure no. 3 captures Maude Fealy in a very flattering pose.

The Coiffure no. 3 was taken by Rudolf Eickemeyer. If there were other photographs from this sitting indicated by the fact that this is called number three, I have not come across any of them.

In 1903 the Figaro Illustre of Paris held a contest and offered a prize for the woman who represented the “perfect type of beautiful womanhood.” Photographer Burr McIntosh submitted a photograph he had taken of Maude Fealy. A committee of experts pored over 30,000 entries and decided Maude Fealy was the most beautiful woman in the world.  Burr McIntosh won the prize for submitting the photo. Fealy wound up with the accolades.

Besides being a famous photographer, Burr McIntosh was the publisher of a popular magazine  in the early part of the 20th century, mostly featuring theatrical stars. In February 1904 Maude Fealy graced the Valentine Number of The Burr McIntosh Monthly. The illustration above was drawn by Clark Hobart in 1903.

When we first wrote about Maude Fealy there was uncertainty as to her exact date and year of birth. That has yet to be resolved, though we can now narrow Maude’s birth year to prior to 1884. Maude’s papers housed in the Denver Public Library give a likely birth date of March 3, 1881.

Through diligent research we have established two previous unknown facts regarding Maude’s domineering actress-mother Margaret: the date of her marriage and divorce to Maude’s father. Continue reading

Alexander Hamilton, The Grange & A Dubious Story Of 13 Trees

Alexander Hamilton’s Final New York Home, The Grange & The Mythical Legend Of Its 13 Trees

With A Description Of Hamilton’s Grange In 1872

Alexander Hamilton’s home, The Grange as it appeared in 1872. print: Appleton’s Journal

In New York City where “preservation” can be a dirty word, an impediment standing in the way of “progress,” it is miraculous that Alexander Hamilton’s home, The Grange, still exists.

Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton and the subsequent smash musical Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda, spurred an awareness and appreciation to a long dead founding father. Alexander Hamilton has been firmly reestablished in the pantheon of great Americans.

1867 New York City Atlas showing original location of Alexander Hamilton’s home The Grange

Alexander Hamilton’s original property of about 30 acres once stretched from about Tenth (Amsterdam) Avenue to St. Nicholas Avenue and from 138th to 145th Street. Hamilton’s Grange built between 1801 and 1802, had been threatened with demolition many times over its 200 plus year existence. The Grange was moved from its original location, not once, but twice.

As described in an 1872 Appleton’s article (reprinted at the end of our story), the author takes note that the house had survived late into the 19th century and should continue well into the 20th century.

“(The Grange) is constructed in the most substantial manner, and is good for a century yet, if the exigencies of city improvement do not demand its destruction.”

Those exigencies did arise a few years later. Hamilton’s home was first moved a couple of blocks south and a half block east in 1889. Real estate development had the Grange in the path of the street grid, laid out in 1811,  which had slowly but steadily worked its way north to upper Manhattan.

Thirteen “Union” Trees Planted By Hamilton print: Appleton’s Journal

After the move the Grange remained safe for the time being, but there was the matter of its famous group of trees, supposedly planted by Alexander Hamilton. The story was recounted by the Appleton’s article:

“A grove of thirteen stately gum-trees on the lawn in front of the mansion, which were planted by General Hamilton in token of the union and perpetuity of the thirteen original States of the republic. The beautiful star-like leaf of this tree rendered it peculiarly appropriate for the purpose.”

By March 1892 the Amos Cotting estate which now owned the parcel of land where the trees stood at Amsterdam Avenue and Convent Avenue between 142nd and 143rd Streets was set to be auctioned off. Destruction of the trees seemed imminent.

Wealthy businessman Orlando B. Potter bought the tracts of land where the trees stood for $140,500 and vowed to preserve the grove.

There was only one problem which seems to have escaped most historians notice, even up to this day – the trees were probably not planted by Alexander Hamilton. Continue reading

10 Modern Era Single Season Pitching Records That Will Never Be Broken

Ten Post-1901 Pitching Records That Will Never Be Broken

Jack Chesbro with the Boston Red Sox in 1909.

They say, “never say never.”

Records are meant to be broken.

But there are some pitching records that will probably never be broken and others that certainly will never be broken. We’re looking at records from the modern era only – post 1901.

Here they are:

10. Johnny Vander Meer 2 consecutive complete game no-hitters (1938)

Johnny Vander Meer had the good fortune to be the only pitcher to ever throw back to back no-hitters on June 11 and June 15, 1938 for the Cincinnati Reds.

It is now rare for a pitcher to throw a shutout, or even a complete game. In an era of relief specialization, analytics and match-ups, no-hitter’s are becoming a thing of the past. As of May 2018 there have been 297 no-hitters thrown in the past 117 years. 10 of those no-hitters were a team effort, thrown by two or more pitchers in the game. In 2015 there were seven no-hitters thrown. In 2016 and 2017 a total of just two no-hitters were thrown.

The notion that anyone will ever again throw two no-hitters in a row is a longshot. Three no-hitters in a row? No way.

9. Rube Marquard 19 consecutive wins (1912)

New York Giants starting pitcher Rube Marquard strung together 19 straight wins to begin the 1912 season. Long winning streaks by starting pitchers are uncommon nowadays. They’re yanked from games earlier than ever and no longer control the outcome in close games because they’ve hit their pitch count limits.  Can a modern day pitcher win 20 games in a row? If it were to happen, it would be a miracle.

8. Roy Face .947 Winning Percentage (1959)

How do you get a .947 winning percentage? You lose only one game and win 18. Pirates pitcher Roy Face achieved that lofty winning percentage all in relief. Face did not start one game. It is conceivable a pitcher could have a better winning percentage. It is also conceivable we will one day have world peace.

7. Nolan Ryan 383 strikeouts (1973)

Nolan Ryan was a strikeout machine. In 27 big league seasons Ryan mowed down 5,714 hitters primarily using his blazing speed.  If a pitcher struck out more than 383 batters in a season as Ryan did for the 1973 California Angels, it would mean striking out an average of about 1.5 batters per inning based on a 256 inning season.

In 2017 only ten pitchers threw 200 or more innings. Boston’s Chris Sale led all major leaguers with only 214.1 innings pitched.  Sale also struck out a stupendous 308 batters.

Since starting pitchers are pitching less innings than ever before, it seems highly improbable that any pitcher will ever strike out more than 383 batters in a season.

6. Ed Walsh 467 innings pitched (1908)

Talking about innings thrown this number is just insane, but White Sox Hall-of Famer Ed Walsh threw 467 innings in 1908. You read that right four hundred sixty seven. It’s probably a good thing they did not have pitch counts in 1908. This record is definitely safe.

5. Jack Chesbro 51 games started (1904)

This is one of three single season pitching records that Jack Chesbro of the New York Highlanders set in 1904 and will never be broken.

Pitchers don’t even start 35 games in a season anymore. With six man rotations coming into existence, it seems likely that we’re heading towards pitchers starting no more than 30 games per season. The last pitcher to come close to breaking Chesbro’s record was Chicago White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood who started 49 games in 1972. Continue reading

The Empire State Building Opened On This Day – 1931

The Empire State Building Opens May 1, 1931

You probably won’t recognize this building unfortunately, though it is certainly New York’s most famous landmark. Every sightseer who has studied it up close will know it’s the Empire State Building. credit: Acme 9/7/51

There are not many 87-year-olds that look this good.

The remarkable Empire State Building may no longer be the tallest building in the world or New York City for that matter, but it still is one of the most iconic and beautiful.

The Empire State Building opened May 1, 1931. Dedicating the Empire State Building, President Herbert Hoover pressed a symbolic button in the White House that put on all the lights in the building.  (A worker in New York actually turned on the lights.)

Continue reading

These Are The Relics From The Lincoln Assassination

The Gun, The Knife and The Bullet From the Lincoln Assassination

Two tragic historic events occurred on the evening of April 14, forty-seven years apart.

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater. Lincoln died at 7:22 am on April 15

At 11:40 in the evening of April 14, 1912 the unsinkable Titanic on its maiden voyage hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. The great ship went down at 2:20 am April 15 taking over 1,500 lives.

Our AP news photograph above is from 1965 when the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln assassination was observed.

RELICS OF ASSASSINATION

These are some of the relics associated with the assassination of President Lincoln. The small pistol in the center is the pistol used by John Wilkes Booth. The dot just below it is the bullet dug from Lincoln’s head. The knife to the right of the pistol was used to stab Major Rathbone, the President’s bodyguard. The pistol at extreme right is the one Booth was carrying when caught. The boot was worn by Booth at the time of the assassination . Other weapons were taken from members of a gang which associated with Booth. (AP News features Photo For use Sunday, April 11, 1965)

Continue reading

Led Zeppelin’s “Carouselambra” Played Live & The Story Behind The Song

Led Zeppelin Never Performed Carouselambra Live

If They Had, It Probably Wouldn’t Have Sounded As Good As Randy Jackson Of Zebra’s Acoustic Solo Version

Led Zeppelin never got to perform Carouselambra live. It’s a ten minute thirty four second synthesizer driven opus.

This version of Carouselambra performed by Zebra’s Randy Jackson is absolutely spectacular.

Carouselambra is one of the radio’s least played Led Zeppelin songs. Maybe it is because of the length of the song or maybe it is the mix which is not up to the usual Led Zeppelin standards. Whatever the reason, besides its enigmatic and haunting lyrics, Carouselambra has some very strong points.

Randy Jackson (lead singer and guitarist of Zebra) not only does the song justice, but turns in an amazing solo performance. Remember, this song was originally recorded with swirling keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. (At end of our story is the original Zeppelin recording.)

The Story of Carouselambra

After the sudden death of Robert Plant’s five-year-old son Karac from a virus in 1977, touring came to an immediate halt and the band went on hiatus. Robert Plant distanced himself from his band mates.

After a long period of self-introspection, Plant decided he was ready to make music again. In December 1978, Led Zeppelin convened to make their final studio album, In Through The Out Door. Three weeks of recording time in Stockholm’s Polar Studios, owned by members of ABBA, were mainly consumed by bassist John Paul Jones and singer Robert Plant. The pair, who had never been the closest of friends, spent a lot of time together and ended up writing almost all of the music and lyrics for the album.

John Paul Jones told Zeppelin biographer Barney Hoskyns, “The band was splitting between people who could turn up at recording sessions on time and people who couldn’t,” Continue reading

We’ve Seen This Before, Late March New York City Snowstorm Shuts Down The City – 1956

Huge Snowstorm In March 1956 Paralyzed New York City and Suburbs

New York – Pedestrians trample their way through snow-covered streets here 3/19 after the worst snowfall in eight years crippled New York’s transportation system and left thousands of motorists stranded on the highway systems leading into the city. More than 2,000 cars were abandoned on the roads. photo United Press Telephoto 3/19/1956

Just in time for spring, the weather forecasters are predicting a lot of snow for New York City starting Tuesday, March 20. Possibly eight inches will fall across the area and then melt within a couple of days.

Snow becomes the main news story here in New York. This will be a small storm compared to the snowstorm that hit New York City on March 18 – 20, 1956.  By the time it was over, New York City received 13 and a half inches of snow, making travel in the region next to impossible.

New York – Snow business is bad business for the owner of a corner grocery store in suburban Queens here 3/20. Folks weren’t exactly beating a path to his door so he closed for the day. 3/20/1956 photo United Press Telephoto

What made this storm worse than others what not just the amount of snow but the surprise nature of it. Continue reading

The Type Of Qualities We Once Looked For In American Politics

Vanished Qualities And Standards In Filling A Political Office

When the president gets to choose a vacancy for a governmental office, shouldn’t the criteria used to fill that position sound something like this:

“In my nominations of persons to fill offices in the Judicial department I have been guided by the importance of the object. Considering it as of the first magnitude and as the pillar on which our political fabric must rest I have endeavored to bring into the high offices of its administration such character as will give stability and dignity to our National Government and I persuade myself they will discover a due desire to promote the happiness of our country by a ready acceptance of their several appointments.”

How eloquent.

Who said those poignant words? Continue reading

5 Things You Didn’t Know About New York History

Things You Didn’t Know About Divorce, Statues and Rapid Transit In New York City

Washington statue Union Square unveiled in 1856, an 80 year gap between public statues in New York City

Under English rule there was never a divorce in New York until 1787

When the Dutch founded New Amsterdam they allowed divorce but it was a rare occurrence. The English captured New Amsterdam in 1664  and after a brief retaking of the city by the Dutch in 1673, the English took permanent possession of the colony of New York until the Revolution. Over the next 100 years there was no divorce in New York.

Isaac Governeur became the first New Yorker granted a divorce in 1787. Up until then there had been no legal way of separating from your spouse. Alexander Hamilton created the law that allowed divorce in New York. The sole basis for being granted a divorce was adultery. Those who were desperate enough, went to another state that did allow divorce for other reasons. Incredibly, until 1966, adultery remained the only grounds for getting a divorce in New York.

The first successful manned flight in New York took place in 1819

A Frenchman, Charles Guillé who had made many successful balloon ascensions in France arrived in the United States in the summer of 1819. Continue reading

This Is The Only Color Film Footage Of Clara Bow The “It” Girl (And What Exactly Is “It”?)

Clara Bow The “It” Girl Made Only One Film In Color, and This One Minute Fragment Is All That That Survives

(And What Exactly is “It”)

Most movie fans never saw Clara Bow’s beautiful red hair except when illustrated on magazine covers. All but one of her films was made in black and white. Her red hair and Brooklyn childhood earned her, her original nickname “The Brooklyn Bonfire.”

So seeing the primitive color film clip below is a pleasant treat for classic movie fans.

With the exception of one film, Red Hair” which is now considered lost, this one minute fragment is all that survives of Clara Bow filmed in color.

If the last minute of Red Hair could be found we would see Clara Bow in as little clothing as the censors would allow.

So what exactly is “It”? Writer Elinor Glin wrote a magazine article called “It.” and a movie soon followed in 1927 starring Clara Bow. The sobriquet The “It Girl” was immediately and permanently attached to Clara Bow.

“Either you have “It” or you don’t have” It.”  “It” is sex appeal definitely, but much more than that.

In a 1927 interview, writer Glyn said you must have ALL of the following qualities: Continue reading